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Balnaves Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 £29.95
BALNAVES COONAWARRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON
The Balnaves' family vineyard is situated at the southern end of the famous Coonawarra 'Terra Rossa' strip. Planted in 1975, the vineyard is 48 hectares in size and has been in the family for three generations. The predominant variety planted is Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Pete Bissell was the Qantas Winemaker of the Year 2005 and Balnaves was James Halliday's Winery of the Year in 2008.
Since the planting of the first five hectares of vines in 1975, the Balnaves vineyards have grown steadily, and Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 70% of the planted area. The vineyard is divided into small blocks of between one and two hectares, based on depth of soil, trellis design, vine clone and row direction. The quality of wine produced from these small blocks is evaluated each year and recorded. For Balnaves, this practice proves the effect that microclimate and geological features have on the quality of the wine produced. The soils here are the famous rust-coloured, iron-rich Coonawarra ‘terra rossa’ soils. Parcels of low yielding Cabernet Sauvignon were selected from the Walker, Quarry and Dead Morris vineyards and combined with Petit Verdot from the Dunstan vineyard.
From mid February 2014 vintage was characterised by cool nights and moderate days carried on through what would be one of the longest harvest periods on record in Coonawarra which ended the first week of May. This slow ripening period preserved the acid, flavour and tannin in the fruit.
The fruit was largely hand picked and fermented in ten tonne open fermenters for ten days with an extended maceration period of a further 17-25 days. Temperatures were between 26-30°C with two pump overs per day. The wine was then pressed in to French oak barriques, of which 30% were new, 15% second fill and the remainder older oak, where it matured for 18 months prior to bottling.
A deep rich red in colour, the nose is perfumed with aromas of cassis, blackberry, violets and graphite combined with mocha notes from the time on oak. The palate is structured and elegant with ripe cassis flavours and fine tannins.
James Halliday: 92/100
Includes 2.5% petit verdot, matured for 18 months in tight-grain French oak. Has all the Balnaves markets: high quality grapes, detailed winemaking, quality French oak and - wait for it - tightly furled tannins. All four are in balance, so the progression of the wine towards maturity is predictable. Forcing it will get you nowhere.
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